by Sarra Khechremi, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 4th February, 2020
Do you struggle with covering grey hair? Are you sick from bleaching your hair with chemical hair dye? Are you stuck with damaged dry hair because you have been coloring it over and over again?
I know how it feels. Been there, done that. But luckily and after thorough research, I found the solution to my hair. And you can too.
I've been bleaching my hair for 5 years. Because of chemical hair dye, my hair was extremely damaged, dry, difficult to manage full of split ends and constantly breaking off.
In addition, I suffered from untreatable hair loss; I tried all the remedies, from hair loss pills to different oils but none of them has worked. As a result, my hair could never grow long or healthy.
I was devastated trying to save my hair, I thought to myself "If I could only find a natural hair dye which lasts and is healthy for my hair as well".
After thorough research, I figured out that the best natural and cruelty-free hair dye I can use is Henna.
Henna is a natural non-toxic, chemical-free hair dye - perfect to use on bleached or non-bleached hair. It's one of the oldest dyes in the world which has been used since antiquity to dye hair, skin, fingernails and even fabric.
It is known that henna was used in ancient Egypt and Cleopatra herself used to dye her hair with henna for beauty.
Henna is still popular today, many women and men still use it for its radiant permanent color and health benefits it's a perfectly safe way to dye your hair naturally and to cover grey hair.
The best part of using henna is that you don't have to go to a hair salon to have that perfect shiny color without damaging your hair, you can simply dye your hair with henna at home using only the simplest means.
Henna also is known as Lawsonia inermis, is a flowering plant. It's a large bush or small tree, which can grow up to 6 meters high in hot and dry climates. Henna was used to keep hair healthy, long and to cover gray hair.
In North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asian culture, henna is used for celebrating weddings and happy occasions. It's spiritually known as a magickal plant, as it attracts good luck, prosperity, and abundance. It's mostly used on the skin as a henna tattoo.
Henna is grown in hot and dry climates such as North Africa and South Asia. It's not grown in Europe or America and has never been widely used there. In the 19th century, during the period of European colonial expansion, European travelers brought henna to Europe.
Products as henna, carpets, and tea were traded as exotic goods. Because of this, the use of henna was associated with exotic beauty.
Many western wealthy women of the 19th century dyed their hair with henna to get a long, silky, and thick burgundy red hair. They admired the fact that hennaed hair had an exotic mystery to it.
Madame Patti, a famous Victorian opera soprano, was the first woman to launch henna into the European fashion mainstream. She was a beauty icon in the 1900s, women longed to be like her and men threatened to kill themselves for her.
Henna leaves are harvested, dried, and then powdered. When purchasing henna online or in stores it's sold in its powdered form. The pinkish flowers from the henna plant have a strong sweet fragrance to them. The juice from the flowers is mainly used in perfumes and essential oils.
Henna's leaves contain lawsone. It's a red-orange dye molecule, also known as hennotannic acid. That's why the henna plant is called Lawsonia Inermis. Henna leaves have from 1% to 4% lawsone. Lawsone is the ingredient responsible for the red orangy stain in henna.
The highest percentage of Lawsone in henna leaves the darker the red it will be. This depends on the area where it's grown and harvested. The warmer the climate the redder it will be. Because lawsone absorbs UV lights. For example, Henna harvested and grown in Yemen is darker than the henna from Morocco.
Henna is sold in many colors online and in stores. Beware of these colors as henna in its purest form is a green powder and can only dye your hair shades of red.
They mix it with harmful chemicals to make it change its color which is dangerous for your hair especially if it has been bleached before. Henna is 100% natural if it's a green powder with a significant smell. It smells earthy and natural. After mixing it into a thick paste, it releases a red stain which can be messy if you are not careful enough.
However, henna can be mixed with other natural hair dyes like Indigo or cassia.
Indigo is a plant with blue dye molecule. If you combine henna and indigo, you will get dark brown hair dye. This will darken the henna and remain healthy for your hair as well.
To lighten henna you can mix it with Cassia. Cassia is a plant as well. Its powder looks similar to the henna powder. when mixed with lemon juice it gives a golden color to the hair. Cassia and henna mixed together, make a strawberry blonde hair to pale coppery red hair.
Lawsone reacts to the protein in skin and hair. It gradually migrates from the henna into the hair shaft and bonds with the keratin molecules, which makes it a long process and results in a permanent stain that lasts.
In addition to its healthy properties, henna was initially used to dye grey hair. During the late Victorian era, many women used henna to keep their hair thick and to cover the gray while maintaining their luxurious chignon.
Henna is the perfect vegan remedy to easily cover the annoying grey hairs. It will give you a light coppery red color when applied the first time.
If applied regularly not only it will darken the roots but it will strengthen them and give you a thicker more vibrant color. It makes your hair shinier, blends perfectly with your natural hair color which makes it look like natural highlights.
So, how to dye your hair with henna mix?
Unlike chemical hair dyes, Henna will not lighten dark hair. It will only enhance the natural tones of your hair. The color you'll get depends on the initial color of your hair.
This is where the beauty of henna lies, it enhances your natural beauty and helps you embrace it.
Henna hair for beginners doesn't have to be intimidating or scary. It is a long messy process indeed. But it is easy to mix, easy to apply, and easy to dye your hair at home with.
Let's learn how to dye hair with henna together.
When it comes to mixing your henna paste, it depends on your preference and depends on the color you want:
I personally mix my henna paste with just hot boiling water. Here's what I do:
In a container, I put henna powder. The quantity depends on your hair length and if you are going to dye only your roots or your whole hair. Then I mix it with boiling hot water using a wooden spoon.
How to apply henna on grey, bleached or non-bleached hair?
If you are thinking: "Hmm, should I dye my hair with henna ?" The perfect answer is it depends if you're ready to put the work and commitment to henna.
Choosing to use henna on your hair is a real commitment. As the color is permanent and is so hard to disappear. Even if you dye your hair with chemical dye, the color of henna will still shine through.
The only way to get rid of it is to wait until your hair grows and then cut off the hennaed part of your hair.
Henna is extremely healthy for your hair. It's a good natural hair dye which is cruelty-free and completely vegan. It doesn't cause any harm to the environment and is not tested on animals.
This herb was used thousands of years ago and is still used today, for its medicinal properties. Henna is a medicinal plant used for:
In addition to a beautiful color, henna is really GOOD for your hair because:
Henna is a herbal hair dye chemical free and lasts an extremely long time compared to conventional dyes. In addition to that, it has healing benefits.
You can apply henna on your hair as many times as you want, it will not damage your hair. In fact, henna will heal and make your hair thicker if applied regularly on the roots and hair.
However, note that the more you use henna the darker your hair will be.
Should I shampoo my hair after henna? how long should I let henna sit? And is it okay to leave henna on overnight?
A list of Do's and don'ts for using henna will be very helpful and hopefully, it will answer all your questions.
Enjoy natural healthy hair with amazing color and be ready for strangers on the street approaching you to tell you how beautiful your hair is!